Thursday, August 12, 2010

Episode 76---Blame it on the Llhama!

Jeremy returns from GenCon to join Socar Myles, Kieran Yanner, and Patrick McEvoy in conversation on business ethics, apprentices, conventions, and llhamas! Later, we interview a few GenCon attendees for your listening pleasure!

Sarah Frary, Kyle Thomas, Christopher Burdett, and John Stanko.


http://mchughstudios.com/ninjamountain_podcast/episode_76.mp3

Be sure to subscribe tot he Ninja Mountain Podcast on iTunes or we will send a herd of llhamas to your studio. The mess will be epic...

The Visual Artist Podcast Network

Tune in next week to learn about Chris Seaman and Jim Pavelec's new collaborative book, Ink Bloom!
We will also be posting a fun conversation with cartoonist and illustrator, Steven Ellis, about his work and the state of digital publishing. Both recorded at GenCon 2010 in those rare quiet moments...

17 comments:

Shaun Patterson said...

I have to disagree with that whole ceo point. The notion of the ceo as the sociopath has been this pervasive myth that seems to go hand in hand with people that find all business evil with evil practices. I think some of the stuff I have been hearing in regards to business is naive I am sorry to say. There are alot of major corporations that are ethically accountable, environmentally responsible and dont work with the mantra of world domination.

When a company needs to lay off 500 people so that the company doesn't go under and the other 3000 lose their jobs, you can hardly call that heartless and its ignorant to just assume that the person making the decisions doesn't give a shit about the lives of those effected.

I have long had family members in the world of big business and every decision that they have to make that involves people is a very serious one for them and not taken lightly.

I start my MBA in a couple of weeks in the pursuit of becoming some sort of Artist/MBA cyborg and one of the very first classes that we take is "Business Ethics".

I think there are alot of oldschool companies with terrible business practices and they treat people and world terribly...but I choose to be optimistic to believe that its not all that way.

Great show as always, I love it when you guys spark some debate within your group.

Shaun

Patrick said...

Thanks for the great post, Shaun! Love to read this sort of thing here on the comments.

Personally, I disagree with one premise you have. I don't think businesses can, by definition, act ethically or morally. They are fictitious entities set up by groups, and they run by rules rather than by intelligence.

Even if rules are put in place by the human caretakers which favor people over profit, the company can and WILL be sued by shareholders other minority owners if any ethical decisions undermine profits. I would argue that the only company that can possibly behave ethically is one that is wholly owned by one person or a VERY small group with similar goals.

However you will notice that I never use the word "evil" here. Companies can't have "evil practices" for the same reason they have no morality: they aren't people. :) So a business can cause evil to happen, but there is no evil motive.

So in short, because of this I'm more willing to buy into the "sociopath" CEO theory, on the grounds that a sociopath is the closest a human can be to a corporation, therefore would be best suited to run one.

MuYoung Kim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MuYoung Kim said...

I have to agree with Patrick. Companies are, by definition, neither moral or ethical entities. At best, they are quantitative which, let's admit it, tends to lead toward rather cold and callous behavior. It's one of the reasons why external oversight (like Anti-trust regulation) is considered necessary in market economies. The real scariness comes in, it seems, when that oversight and vigilance begins to wane...

...and then we get a Gibson Neuromancer-like world. Scary.

Oh, and just for reference, it's Yositaka Amano (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoshitaka_Amano) that Socar was mentioning. Quite the nice guy...meeting him at SDCC was definitely a squeeea moment.

Shaun Patterson said...

Unfortunately thats to cut and dry an answer for me. My wife runs a small 2 person home based business and on the other end of the universe are large trans global mega corps and inbetween are companies of every type of sixe, shape and configuration. At which point does my wife turn from artist and entrepreneur to heartless, sociopathic ceo..when her company is 10 people? 100?..or 10,000?

I do agree with alot of what both of you are saying, I am just not comfortable with blanket statements and forced assumptions....Have we all not been at the receiving end of those, my artist brothers and sisters! ;)

glassman said...

Man, did I fall asleep again, mid-recording, or what? I can't remember anything about a sociopath CEO! (If I said it, I forgot. It does sound kind of like something I'd say...but I'm sure I was kidding.)

Patrick said...

Shaun, just to clarify my point: your wife isn't going to become heartless and sociopathic, but her company IS ALREADY. Because it isn't a person, it's a legal entity. If she controls it herself, then it's like a golem being controlled by a human - whatever the human's motivation becomes the company's motivation. So your wife - whom I have NO doubt is a wonderful and superior human being - guides the company with both brains and compassion.

But once she gives up control to a set of rules, then it's going to run amok like any amoral monster. And the person best suited to keep that monster running at its amoral best is a sociopath. Not that they *always will be* the people in charge, but it just seems most likely, especially as the stakes get bigger. :)

** Oh and one more reminder: when I say "amoral" I do NOT mean "evil". Two totally different things!

Patrick said...

Mu - thanks for the comment as always!

Socar - it wasn't you, it was Kieran! Go back to sleep. :)

Shaun Patterson said...

I do love a well placed Golem analogy :)

Christopher Burdett said...

Great episode this week. ...and not just because I am on it ;P That interview with Stanko was great! Keep up the great work everybody!

Alonso said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc&feature=player_embedded#!

this is interesting breakdown of motives in business. (and it's illustrated which is easier for us visual people) near the end they talk about how pure profit motive leads to bad decisions. informative (I think it's based on research papers) and entertaining

Shaun Patterson said...

Ironically one of my pre MBA readings that I had to do this weekend was all about corporate ethics and can a large company really function as an ethical body. The most interesting points were that when companies have at least 40 percent of their senior management made up of women then they tend to be less profitable, employ more people and tend to act for socially responsable....So the solution to all our problems is to let women run every thing and us men folk can just stay home and draw ;)

Patrick said...

Alonso - great link, thanks! And Shaun - I think there's always room for a Golem analogy.

Patrick said...

Hey Shaun - I think you've reached a conclusion I can get behind 100%! I for one welcome our new foundation-garment-wearing overlords.

glassman said...

Can I still be an overlord if I'm not wearing any, er, "foundation garments?"

Which is not to say I'm not. But there's a chance I'm sitting at my computer, still in my nightgown, at 3:22PM. Would that not be the most fantastically lazy thing, like, EVARRRRR?

Patrick said...

Yes, that would be pretty damn astounding. Ah well, you can still be my overlord. :) Just don't let it happen again.

Lance Red said...

Very cool episode again. The GenCon interviews were great, but I really liked the short discussion on apprentices. I too think that this is a practice that should be brought back especially in the case of art. For me personally when I left college I would have loved to spend a year or more as an apprentice to some of the artists I admire; still would actually; learning at the feet of the master as it were + this would help to empower the upcoming generations of artists and build our industry via mentoring.